I recently had a few comments on a blog post I’d published, regarding having sex whilst topless – well, having sex at all – when you have a stoma. These comments upset me. I don’t mean personally, they did not offend me, I genuinely just felt upset that they could feel like that about themselves. I really wanted to write about these comments. I feel like it should be talked about, in order to help end the stigma that is still around it. I don’t want to patronize or enforce my opinion in any way, I merely just want to tell you what I want you to know. You don’t have to act upon it, I just hope that maybe you can look at yourself in a different light and feel good about yourself. So, to the people who feel like this, this post is for you.
“There is no way I will have sex again, I have a stoma – it’s ugly!”
For the first few weeks, after ostomy surgery I felt how you feel. It was a horrible time feeling unattractive, because of something I couldn’t control. It was hard to accept what had happened and acknowledge the fact that maybe it didn’t me ugly. It took me time, but eventually, with the help of my partner, I began coming round to the fact that it hadn’t changed the person I was – if anything, it had impacted me and helped me to become a better person. It didn’t change me physically either, I still had the same hair, the same face, the same body (okay maybe I’m a little heavier now) – it was just an addition. And I guess I’ve trained myself into thinking that way.
But I know that when I didn’t think that way, it was hard. Which is why I feel upset. I feel upset because I couldn’t imagine still feeling that way. It was strenuous enough the first few weeks, so to go months, years even, feeling that way – I find absolutely heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking because you’ve been given something out of your control. Something that is different, something that can effect you mentally, physically and emotionally. It seems unfair, right? And it’s up to you as to when you feel ready to deal with it. No body can force you to feel okay with your body. It takes time and it takes strength.
So maybe, remember the positives in the situation. Remember that it saved your life, that it has enabled you to live an active lifestyle. Enjoy that. Enjoy that you’ve been given a second chance. Don’t take it as two steps back. Don’t let it to stop you from living life to the fullest.
I don’t think a stoma makes you any less attractive personally. Because a stoma does not effect your beauty. If anything, it makes you more beautiful. It gives you a story to tell. It shows the what strength you have, the fight you have in you. It does not effect your personality. It does not change you. It does not make you any different from the person you were before. If somebody thinks of you as any less than who and what you are, they’re not worth it. If somebody can’t look past something and see it for the life saving thing that it is – they’re not worth it. And if somebody is going to judge you on something completely out of your control, that has been a struggle to embrace with confidence, then they really, really are not worth it.
You may not want to take advice from me. I get that. But what about from a man? From people that are willing to tell you how they feel? Well, I asked a number of men how they would feel about being with somebody with an ostomy. And these are their responses…
“It wouldn’t bother me at all. I see the person – the personality above all else“
“I am curious about it, and would be asking questions like a daft lad! As for attraction or anything intimate though, as I say, no problem for me“
“Definitely wouldn’t bother me …. you see a person first then if intimacy is going to happen no disability will make any difference“
“Wouldn’t stop me being intimate with her in anyway at all“
“It wouldn’t bother me one bit in the slightest.“
“A real man would accept it as part of you – not something to fear”
So, just know there are people out there who can promise you, you are still absolutely beautiful. I hope one day you can regain that thought.